O’Reilly winner completes FCKC rally in Orlando

The Equalizer Staff September 24, 2016 13

Heather O’Reilly, in her first game since retiring from the national team, converted the game-winning penalty kick to help FC Kansas City to a come-from-behind, 2-1 victory over Orlando Pride in the final match of the season for both clubs. Jasmyne Spencer staked the Pride to a 1-0 lead after halftime and Tiffany McCarty equalized in the opening minutes of the second. The loss extended the Pride’s winless run to eight games.

The first half saw the Pride control the midfiled with superior possession and a strong, defensive effort that prevented the Blues from creating much of a buildup. In the 16th minute, Kristen Edmonds won a free kick and then stood over it before driving it low into the FC Kansas City wall. The ball rolled into space just on top of the 18-yard box. That’s where Spencer walked up to it and gave it a smack with her left foot that found the upper 90 for her 4th goal of the season.

The visitors came out of the lock room for the second half a different team and the dividends were nearly immediate. Off a throw-in barely a minute into the half, Lo’eau LaBonta made a smooth pass to unlock O’Reilly down the left flank. O’Reilly beat Dani Weatherholt and got off a shot or cross that Ashlyn Harris punched away. The punch went right into the path of McCarty who was following up the play and made a simple touch for her 2nd goal of the season.

FC Kansas City were the better side the rest of the half. They nearly scored again when Harris made a strong save on McCarty and then had to make another after the rebound found Shea Groom.

The winning sequence began as much ado about nothing as Brittany Taylor, completing a second seasons playing every minute, made a run into the box. Finding no options she turned and went to dribble outside the area but was tripped from behind by Maddy Evans for a penalty call. O’Reilly stepped into the penalty and beat Harris even as the keeper guessed correctly. For O’Relly, who missed an opening night penalty that would have equalized in stoppage time, it was her 1st goal of the season.

Despite the win, FC Kansas City (7-8-5, 26 pts) will finish 6th or 7th, the former being only if Sky Blue lose to the Thorns on Sunday. It marks the first time the Blues have missed the playoffs. The Pride (6-13-1, 19 pts) will finish 9th after finishing up on an 0-7-1 stretch. They do not have a 1st round pick in 2017 having traded it to the Flash in exchange for Edmonds and Becky Edwards. Edwards played her final professional match on Saturday, two days after announcing her retirement. The crowd of 7,454 have her a loud ovation when she was replaced by Evans during the 2nd half.

  • Silver Frost

    Such an embarrassing collapse after a brilliant beginning. Will Alex be back next season? Devanna is no replacement. And, I think Edmonds would look nice in a Portland Thorns kit next season.

    • DNG

      Edmonds would be on the bench most likely for the Thorns unless there is an expansion draft. The Thorns have Henry, Dagny, Horan and Long. I don’t think Edmonds is getting into that team. The Thorns should probably look to improve their OBs.

    • Steglitz49

      If Alex is not back, they could always sign Stina Blackstenius but would, of course, have to do without her during Euro-17. Better of getting a local girl.

    • ABCDE

      Um, Alex hasn’t exactly been impressive for Orlando. If LA gets a team she will probably want to go there (if they don’t sign Press first), otherwise I don’t see where else she would relocate to.

  • Anon

    Alex Morgan is useless. What an awful showing.

  • Rdalford

    Orlando attendance 7454 (from Orlando Pride match report and twitter)

    Orlando 2016 season total=87851 avg=8785 (mean) with median of 7195
    Orlando 2016 season match attendance detail (10 home games)
    (23403, 8211, 7841, 6870, 7143, 5842, 7247, 7052, 6788, 7454) total=87851

    • Steglitz49

      Impressive. Never below 5800. Median over 7000.

      • Rdalford

        Will be interesting to see how Orlando Pride attendance does in the new Orlando (25.5K seat capacity) soccer specific stadium. Orlando Pride has started to sell 2017 season tickets for new stadium and they appear to be using lower bowl stadium sections for the Pride season tickets holders with a few of the more expensive club sections also open for Pride season tickets. Using the lower bowl seat sections and a few club sections is the same basic set up as used in Houston. Fairly easy for teams to then open up additional stadium sections as needed for games with higher demand. The lower bowl plus a few club sections arrangement accommodates the 7K – 10K attendance range.

        • Steglitz49

          Orlando will need a big ticket name. Not just from the draft but one to bring the punters in. One of the Canadians who is out of college?

          • Rdalford

            Alex Morgan? kind of definition of big ticket name and she is already playing in Orlando.
            Orlando (along with Houston and Portland) does not have a first round draft pick so Buchanan or other top Canadian players probably not available by time Orlando gets to pick. WNY owns Orlando’s first round draft pick (as well as their own WNY first round pick), Seattle has 2 first round 2017 draft picks (one from Houston plus Seattle’s own) and Sky Blue also has two 2017 first round picks (one from Portland)

          • Steglitz49

            I am assuming that Alex will do like ARod did 4 years ago.


    Even a bicycle is more useful for a fish than Morgan is to Orlando

  • Steglitz49

    A high note for HAO to end the season on. Maybe her playing career?